A vulnerability in the Protection Against Distributed Denial of Service Attacks feature of Cisco IOS XE Software could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to conduct denial of service (DoS) attacks to or through the affected device.
This vulnerability is due to incorrect programming of the half-opened connections limit, TCP SYN flood limit, or TCP SYN cookie features when the features are configured in vulnerable releases of Cisco IOS XE Software. An attacker could exploit this vulnerability by attempting to flood traffic to or through the affected device. A successful exploit could allow the attacker to initiate a DoS attack to or through an affected device.
Cisco has released software updates that address this vulnerability. There are no workarounds that address this vulnerability.
This advisory is available at the following link:
This advisory is part of the September 2021 release of the Cisco IOS and IOS XE Software Security Advisory Bundled Publication. For a complete list of the advisories and links to them, see Cisco Event Response: September 2021 Semiannual Cisco IOS and IOS XE Software Security Advisory Bundled Publication.
At the time of publication, this vulnerability affected Cisco IOS XE Software releases 17.3.1 and later (but earlier than the first fixed release) if the software was in autonomous or controller mode and had one of the following enabled:
- Half-opened connections limit
- TCP SYN flood limit
- TCP SYN cookie feature
For more information about which Cisco software releases are vulnerable, see the Fixed Software section of this advisory.
Determine the Device Configuration
The half-opened connections limit, TCP SYN flood limit, or TCP SYN cookie features are enabled if any of the following configuration commands are present in the device configuration:
- max-incomplete tcp
- max-incomplete udp
- max-incomplete icmp
- max-incomplete high
- max-incomplete low
- tcp max-incomplete host
- tcp syn-flood limit
- tcp syn-flood rate per-destination
To confirm whether the data plane has been successfully programmed, use the show platform hardware qfp active feature firewall runtime command. If the configuration is defined with half-opened session limits, SYN flood limits, or SYN cookie features, the respective flag for that feature should be present: half-open, syn-flood, or syn-cookie. If one of these features is configured but the corresponding flag is not present, the device is not programmed correctly. The following example shows the flag appearance when the data plane is programmed correctly:
Router# show platform hardware qfp active feature firewall runtime
Products Confirmed Not Vulnerable
Only products listed in the Vulnerable Products section of this advisory are known to be affected by this vulnerability.
Cisco has confirmed that this vulnerability does not affect the following Cisco products:
- IOS Software
- IOS XR Software
- Meraki products
- NX-OS Software
There are no workarounds that address this vulnerability.
When considering software upgrades, customers are advised to regularly consult the advisories for Cisco products, which are available from the Cisco Security Advisories page, to determine exposure and a complete upgrade solution.
In all cases, customers should ensure that the devices to be upgraded contain sufficient memory and confirm that current hardware and software configurations will continue to be supported properly by the new release. If the information is not clear, customers are advised to contact the Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC) or their contracted maintenance providers.
Cisco IOS and IOS XE Software
To help customers determine their exposure to vulnerabilities in Cisco IOS and IOS XE Software, Cisco provides the Cisco Software Checker to identify any Cisco Security Advisories that impact a specific software release and the earliest release that fixes the vulnerabilities described in each advisory (“First Fixed”). If applicable, the tool also returns the earliest release that fixes all the vulnerabilities described in all the advisories identified (“Combined First Fixed”).
Customers can use the Cisco Software Checker to search advisories in the following ways:
- Choose the software and one or more releases
- Upload a .txt file that includes a list of specific releases
- Enter the output of the show version command
After initiating a search, customers can customize the search to include all Cisco Security Advisories, a specific advisory, or all advisories in the most recent bundled publication.
Customers can also use the following form to determine whether a release is affected by any Cisco Security Advisory by entering a Cisco IOS or IOS XE Software release—for example, 15.1(4)M2 or 3.13.8S:
By default, the Cisco Software Checker includes results only for vulnerabilities that have a Critical or High Security Impact Rating (SIR). To include results for Medium SIR vulnerabilities, customers can use the Cisco Software Checker on Cisco.com and check the Medium check box in the drop-down list under Impact Rating when customizing a search.
The Cisco Product Security Incident Response Team (PSIRT) is not aware of any public announcements or malicious use of the vulnerability that is described in this advisory.
This vulnerability was found during the resolution of a Cisco TAC support case.
To learn about Cisco security vulnerability disclosure policies and publications, see the Security Vulnerability Policy. This document also contains instructions for obtaining fixed software and receiving security vulnerability information from Cisco.
Version Description Section Status Date 1.0 Initial public release. — Final 2021-SEP-22
THIS DOCUMENT IS PROVIDED ON AN "AS IS" BASIS AND DOES NOT IMPLY ANY KIND OF GUARANTEE OR WARRANTY, INCLUDING THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR USE. YOUR USE OF THE INFORMATION ON THE DOCUMENT OR MATERIALS LINKED FROM THE DOCUMENT IS AT YOUR OWN RISK. CISCO RESERVES THE RIGHT TO CHANGE OR UPDATE THIS DOCUMENT AT ANY TIME.
A standalone copy or paraphrase of the text of this document that omits the distribution URL is an uncontrolled copy and may lack important information or contain factual errors. The information in this document is intended for end users of Cisco products.